Asian Shares Advance On Renewed US Stimulus Hopes

Asian stocks advanced on Thursday amid renewed optimism about more U.S. fiscal stimulus after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would support relief measures for airlines and small businesses.

Optimistic signals by U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi over an airline-relief bill, rising chances of a Democratic victory during the November elections and expectations that U.S. monetary policy will remain accommodative for a long time also boosted investor sentiment.

Markets in China were closed for the National Day holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.2 percent to close at 24,193.35.

Japanese shares hit a seven-month high as Trump’s tweets rekindled hopes of a partial deal on U.S. coronavirus stimulus and the Nikkei reported that Japan will scale back a requirement of two weeks of self-quarantine for some business travelers.

The Nikkei average jumped 224.25 points, or 0.96 percent, to 23,647.07, marking the highest close since Feb. 14. The broader Topix index closed 0.55 percent higher at 1,655.47.

Technology stocks led the surge, with semiconductor and electronics company Screen Holdings rising as much as 8.3 percent. Advantest gained 5.4 percent and Tokyo Electron rallied 3.7 percent.

ANA Holdings dropped 1.7 percent after reports that the airline will maintain pay cuts implemented in April for its directors and managers.

On the economic front, official data showed that Japan posted a current account surplus of 2,102.8 billion yen in August, down 1.5 percent from last year. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 1,983.7 billion yen following the 1,468.3 billion yen surplus in July.

Australian markets hit a one-month high after the government pledged billions of dollars in tax cuts and measures to boost jobs and help pull the economy out of its historic coronavirus slump.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rallied 65.60 points, or 1.09 percent, to 6,102, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 66.20 points, or 1.06 percent, at 6,305.80.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rose about 2 percent while gold miners ended mixed after bullion prices extended losses overnight. The big four banks rose between 0.8 percent and 1.5 percent.

Ampol added 1.2 percent after the petroleum company said it will explore options including a closure of its refinery in Lytton, Brisbane amid low fuel demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seoul stocks ended higher for the seventh day running on hopes of a partial fiscal stimulus before the U.S. Presidential election. The benchmark Kospi inched up 5.02 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,391.96.

Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 1.3 percent, chemical maker LG Chem advanced 1.8 percent and steelmaker POSCO added 1.5 percent.

South Korea saw a current account surplus of $6.57 billion in August, the Bank of Korea said in a report – down from $7.45 billion in July.

New Zealand shares rose sharply after senior officials at the country’s central bank signaled further monetary policy easing, including negative rates. The benchmark NZX-50 index climbed 219.77 points, or 1.83 percent, to 12,235.92.

New Zealand business sentiment strengthened further in October, preliminary survey data from ANZ showed today. The business confidence index improved to -14.5 percent from -28.5 percent in September.

U.S. stocks rallied overnight as Trump’s tweet raised hopes of incremental stimulus sometime soon and the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes revealed there was a consensus among members to keep policy accommodative to support the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite jumped around 1.9 percent each, while the S&P 500 added 1.7 percent.

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